(Not those well-behaved storms like you're used to.)
The recaps in this comic are getting shorter and shorter, and more interesting as well: this time we get a kaleidoscope of monochrome flashback panels radiating out from Nightcrawler's face. Works for me.
Speaking of Kurt, this is definitely his moment to shine. Teleporting two miles straight up (we learn this issue that the difficulty of a jaunt is determined by it's direction relative to Earth's magnetic field, which is interesting), contorting his body until he finds an updraft in the surrounding tempest, waiting until his momentum is zero, and then teleporting over a freezing cold lake before swimming for an hour to get to shore? Even Wolverine would be impressed, if he weren't too busy being Clockwork Orange'd in one of Doom's more mental X-traps.
But there's more to come! Once 'Crawler has taken a breather, he's back on the clock, making his way through the apocalyptic storm (the military has already alerted the president that New York might end up being tossed into Oz if things don't turn around quickly), and jumping two of Doom's goons and gaining access to the castle.
(Just as with the Hellfire Club, we're told that Doom has spared no expense to hire the finest mercenaries in the world. And again, just with Hellfire, this seems pretty doubtful. The narration explains that these men are so highly trained and ruthless that it only takes them a second to react to Nightcrawler's sudden appearance. A second. From two men hired as lookouts on a night when they know an enemy operative is somewhere on the grounds. Once they have responded, they try to riddle Nightcrawler with lead, despite Doom's orders being that he be taken "alive and relatively unharmed." This does not exactly suggest great competence. Mercenary Phil and his buddy are going to be in a lot of trouble.)
Whilst Kurt is demonstrating the Teutonic ninja technique (which I've actually seen before), his team mates are escaping Doom's traps, one by one. Colossus realises that the gun turrets preventing him from escaping will only fire on him when he's metal. Angel discovers that the laser beams which switch on whenever he leaves his perch form a tight but navigable aerial maze. Wolverine works out that if he just keeps slashing everything he'll get free eventually, which doesn't really seem like that much of an intellectual challenge, if I'm honest.
Of course, the moment Logan is free, he sprints upstairs to sharpen his claws on Doom's ribcage. For a moment it doesn't look like this fight will go any better than the last, but Nightcrawler's timely arrival allows them to overpower the deposed despot, and force him to restore Storm from her statuesque state.
That's when things get really bad. Turns out taking a severe claustrophobic and essentially paralysing them is a massively stupid thing to do, and Storm has reacted by going crazy. I can't say I blame her, I'm a little claustrophobic and just the idea is giving me shivers, despite the number of times I've been buried under the rubble of my house and the broken bodies of my parents is exactly zero.
Her first move is to try and kill Doom (fair enough, I'd say), but Colossus arrives in time to save him (boo!). By this point she's gone full-on Dark Phoenix. I'm not sure whether this works or not, actually. Noting both in the dialogue and on the cover that this is deliberately reminiscent of what happened to Jean Grey all of one year ago (real time) doesn't do much to assuage the feeling that this is a bit unoriginal. Why is it always the female X-Men who end up becoming exceptionally powerful and utterly bonkers? Is it so the increasingly infuriating "power of love" resolution can be employed? Would anyone believe that a staggeringly powerful Wolverine would stop slashing up entire continents if the team reminded him to be nice to puppies?
Still, at least the resolution here is stronger than it was last time around (I'm talking about how the Dark Phoenix was defeated, not Jean's suicide-by-Imperial Guard) - basically, the X-Men tell Storm: "Hey! Remember when Jean turned into Dark Phoenix? Wasn't she a total bitch? That how you wanna go out?" Ororo gets the point, and smooths the storm out until the surrounding weather is just at the normal shitty levels you'd expect in winter in New York.
With everything back to normal, Storm asks Doom one more time to release Arcade. But... wasn't the whole point that this was a trap all along? Why were those flunkies from last issue guarding an empty cell, if not to trap the X-Men? Doom argues he was only responding in kind when the team attacked, but that doesn't really make much sense given Arcade admits having manipulated the team into the assault in the first place. And now Doom is reluctant to let Arcade go because of how the man insulted him.
None of this makes the slightest sense, and pretty much reads as Claremont wanting an excuse to make use of Arcade and Doom at the same time, and also setting up a potential, er, doomed romance between Ororo and Doom. There were parts of this arc I really liked (mainly the strategies and counter strategies of the first issue, and Nightcrawler's exploits in this one), but it really doesn't hang together.
But something new and interesting is on the horizon! A strange city has arisen from the sea just off Scott and Lee's island paradise. Has Cthulhu decided on a Caribbean holiday? Tune in tomorrow to find out!
This issue continues on directly from UXM #146, and takes place over the course of several hours.
Nightcrawler confirms we are still in the middle of winter, mainly by complaining (understandably) about the negative effects of a moonlight swim at such a time.
Monday 7th of February, 1983.
1 Marvel year = 3.67 standard years.
(Shadowcat is 22 years old.)
|The Clash at Demonhead.|
Shergar is stolen from a stud farm in County Kildare.
"And I thought I was ruthless." - Doom, watching Wolverine tear the Stormdroid's face off the instant he arrives.